It was a dark and stormy night when I answered a casting call for a low budget, non-union music video for “a well known metal band” in Brooklyn. As my umbrella completely broke and the rain drenched me, I approached the Bushwick warehouse where either I would meet my big break or end in a snuff film.
Entering, I saw the remnants of broken glass and nails beneath my feet. Looking around, I saw a white piece of paper taped up with the stuff kindergarten teachers use with the words, “MUSIC VIDEO CASTING.” An arrow pointed upstairs. Excited, I pounced to destiny.
Opening a heavy door that felt like it weighed more than I did, I was greeted by the sound of loud music where the vocalist screamed with the most small dick rage I had heard up to this point in my life. As my ear drums were being assaulted, so was my nose as the amount of cheap perfume made me choke and cough. Wall to wall, women were scantily clad in next to nothing. I felt out of place in my jeans and t-shirt, and even more out of place because the rain made me look like a wet dog. I would find a bathroom to clean up, but before I did I needed to find a sign in sheet. Looking around, I saw no proctor.
Approaching a young woman with short hair, tattoos and enough piercings to make a magnet have a seizure I yelled over the loud music, “IS THERE A SIGN IN SHEET!?”
The girl yelled back, “WHAT’S THAT?!”
This was bizarre. Every audition had one. It was an unwritten law, “HOW DO THEY KNOW WHO IS THERE AND WHEN TO SEE YOU!?”
The girl shrugged, “I WAS JUST TOLD TO SHOW UP!”
“DO YOU GIVE YOUR HEADSHOT AND RESUME TO ANYONE!?”
“WHAT IS THAT?”
I held up mine. The girl said, “OH YOU’RE AN ACTRESS! I’M JUST A GROUPIE. I MET THE DRUMMER LAST WEEK AND HE TOLD ME TO SHOW UP!” As she spoke, stars in her eyes flashed and a big satisfied smile of a dream come true crossed her face.
“WHO IS THIS BAND?!”
Now she looked at me stunned and puzzled, “DEATH BY RAT POISON, THE GREATEST BAND TO EVER LIVE!!!!”
Death By Rat Poison, interesting. While the rat poison wouldn’t be my death, their music was certainly killing my hearing. Then there were the Rogers and Hammerstein gems such as, “You broke my heart, farted in my chest, but you still are the girl who FUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKKEDDD THE BESSSSSSSSSTTTT!!!!” In short, they were Metallica minus the talent.
As I digested this information along with clever lyrical musings a girl with jet black hair, a bunch of tats and more piercings than the groupie approached. She said, “MONICA, I WAS LOOKING FOR YOU!”
“JENNY DEMON, YOU ARE MY FAVORITE CAM GIRL! I AM SOOOO FAN STUCK RIGHT NOW!” Monica and Jenny were now shouting over the music and very quickly Monica forgot about me. Aww shucks.
Jenny said, “BOB SAYS YOU WANT TO GET INTO PORN, I CAN HELP!”
While fascinating, I decided to exit the Lifetime Movie star I had accidentally wandered into and found the bathroom to freshen up. This way I could clean up and rescue what was left of my auditory senses. Opening the bathroom door, I caught sight of a busty peroxide blonde and a girl with jet black hair and a tacky fake tan applying makeup.
The blonde-who spoke exactly like Kelly Bundy said, “My husband was so nice to pay for my breast implants and tummy tuck after two kids. But he says once I get the Playboy centerfold we are having a third one.”
The bad tan-who was a Poor Man’s Pussycat Doll said, “My boob job was seven grand and no one is undoing that.” Taking paper towels to dry myself off, I listened to this brilliant bon vivant. Poor Man’s Pussycat Doll said, “Tonight, I am getting into this video and fucking Frankie the lead singer.”
Kelly Bundy said, “It’s great you are bouncing back from DeShawn.”
Poor Man’s Pussycat Doll said, “DeShawn paid my rent for about a year, took me to Miami and I got a bunch of jewelry. He just wouldn’t leave that pregnant bitch he was engaged to.” Sigh, every rose has it’s thorn.
Kelly Bundy said, “That must have really broken your heart.”
Poor Man’s Pussycat Doll said, “I decided to let her know about me. I sent her a DM and she ignored me. I called her and she told me she knew about me, I was a whore and she got the house and the man so she didn’t care. This is what I get for sleeping with someone from the New York Jets.” I agreed, she should have gone with someone from a winning team like The Cowboys.
I continued to dry myself off. “You know, he turned into a real dick. He was being way melodramatic with that restraining order,” Poor Man’s Pussy Cat Doll said.
I finished drying off, fluffed my hair, and applied my lipstick. Poor Man’s Pussycat Doll said, “Who invited you? Yeah, I’m talking to you.”
“Oh….” I said, shocked she would come from her self-centered star fucker bubble to talk to yours truly, “craigslist.”
“Our photographer who shot us for Playboy tipped us off,” Kelly Bundy said. She had a sweet, vacant smile. While I could tell she wasn’t the sharpest tool at least she was nice.
“You got into Playboy, congrats,” I said.
“I did, she’s still waiting,” Kelly said, completely oblivious that her jealous friend stood feet away, “I’m not a centerfold but my spread was really good they said. You see it?”
Looking at Kelly Bundy, I realized she looked familiar and then it hit me, Girls Next Door had a talent search and she had been on TV. I said, “You were on the Girl’s Next Door Talent Search.”
“OMG! I cant believe you saw me!!!! They said I had the goods and I wanna be a part of the Playboy family sooo soo bad,” Kelly Bundy said.
“You should be, you definitely have the goods,” I said. She did, I mean she paid enough for them, right?
“I hope so. I am going to be 26 in two months and time is running out. If you don’t get it by then it’s not gonna happen,” Kelly Bundy said. “And having two kids didn’t help.”
“I hope I look as good as you after two kids. And I am twenty four and just killed a plant so you are light years ahead of me,” I said. Kelly Bundy laughed and Poor Man’s Pussy Cat Doll glared.
“What do you do?” Kelly Bundy said.
“Comedy and acting…..”
“Oh, you should. You are funny,” Kelly Bundy said.
“Yeah, you are.” Poor Man’s Pussycat Doll said glaring at me. “We have to go, excuse us.” Poor Man’s Pussycat Doll dragged Kelly Bundy out the door. As the door closed, Kelly shot me an apologetic look and Poor Man’s Pussy Cat Doll sneered.
My head still spinning from the encounter, I needed to find someone who knew what was going on and fast. After leaving the bathroom, I saw a table with water bottles. Maybe the sign in sheet would be there. No such luck. Eyeing the water bottles, I realized I was thirsty and took one. Just as I was about to open it a kid with a backwards ball cap who looked about 19 and seemed like he belonged at the nearest methadone clinic said, “If you want one it’s a dollar fifty.” Call me clairvoyant, but when I heard this I had the sinking feeling this video was going nowhere and this was not going to be my big break.
“Do you have a sign in sheet?” I was still hoping to salvage the evening by networking.
Ballcap said, “What’s that?”
Just then I heard a familiar voice say, “APRIL BRUCKER!” I turned around and it was my pal Johnny Leonne from college. A Five Towns kid, Johnny’s family was wealthy and supposedly mobbed up. Johnny was a character, but at least this was a friendly face. “How are you?” I gave my old chum a hug.
“April, I am AD on this. Frankie is gonna love you. Come on, I want you to meet the band!” My questions were unanswered but at least I was getting a resolution, right?
I followed Johnny down a dark hall that looked like it was out of some condemned asylum in a B grade scary movie. As we walked, Johnny and I talked about old classmates of ours that we both knew but barely cared about because that’s what you do when you see an old school chum. Making our way down the hall I swore I heard the sound of high heels.
“Is someone else coming?” I said.
“Nah, the way we are calling people is if I see someone I like I am taking them to meet the band. Why?” Johnny said.
“I hear footsteps.”
Johnny laughed, “Yeah, this building is creepy like that. I know some of those girls can be intense but I wouldn’t worry.”
After what seemed like an eternity, we entered a room where the members of Death by Rat Poison were hanging out. It was damp, smelled like mold, and was lit by a few amber hanging lights. One who looked like Pinhead from Hellraiser texted rapidly and didn’t even bother to look up. Another, a long haired lad, stared into space and didn’t acknowledge Johnny let alone myself. Then a spikey haired kid who looked like his mode of transport was a skateboard said, “Fuck you, Frankie. Suck it!”
As he pushed his way out he nearly knocked me over, not caring let alone apologizing. A guy who was tattooed from head to foot with black contacts yelled back, “Oh yeah, well fuck your ugly girlfriend! We can always get a new bass player!”
Undaunted, Johnny, complete with big cheesy grin said, “Frankie this is April. She went to college with me. She’s a comedian and ventriloquist.”
Instead of exchanging pleasantries Frankie said, “Fuck you, Johnny, this has been a waste of my Goddamn time. How many of these bitches are we paying? I don’t want a video with all bitches, I play guitar!”
Not only was Frankie eloquent but he respected women, it was definitely time to take him home to Mom and Grandma. I wasnt a fan of Death by Rat Poison and didnt need to be, after all, Frankie knew where he was going, what he was about and most certainly didn't need my support.
Then the door flew open. Standing there was Poor Man’s Pussycat Doll. My mouth dropped open in shock. This had not been my imagination, she had been following us! I looked at Johnny, who half smiled and mouthed, “Sorry.”
Poor Man’s Pussy Cat Doll elbowed past Johnny who stood speechless. Walking up to Frankie she said, “I am such a fan of your music and I just shot for Playboy. Let me know if you want a signed copy of my prints.”
Her issue had not come out yet, and when it did I was sure she was going to be on the back pages used for bird cage lining. Sitting down on Frankie’s lap, a smile of satisfaction crossed his face. Death By Rat Poison would never be the Beatles, but they had just met their Yoko Ono.
Johnny said, “As I was saying, April is a comedian and a ventriloquist.”
I said, “Yeah, I perform around the city and tri-state. If you want to check out a show let me know.” I had a bringer show-a show that requires you to bring audience to get onstage-coming up. Frankie was revolting but you never know who will show, and I was three reservations away from making my seven person quota and desperately wanted to break into that venue.
Poor Man’s Pussy Cat Doll looked at me angrily. If her eyes were bullets I would surely be dead. In a voice that sounded like she had crawled out of Salem’s Lot she said “And why are you still talking?!”
I looked at Johnny and Frankie, “You know what, I think it’s time for me to go before my head turns to mush and Frankie, you can save your money because I am willing to leave for free. Good luck with your video.”
Frankie's mouth dropped open, incredulous that anyone would walk away from Death by Rat Poison let alone his small dick male charm. Johnny, visibly embarrassed, walked me out, “Sorry about the groupie.”
“ Good luck with the Poor Man’s Pussycat Doll,” I said, thinking only Johnny could hear me.
Apparently, she could hear me because Poor Man’s Pussycat Doll screamed, “FUCK YOU! I HATE YOU, YOU FUCKING COW!”
I turned and said, “Good. Moooo!!” Then I closed the door. I got outside and the rain had stopped.Clinging the what was left of my hearing and braincells, I sprinted to the train.
When I got home I was thankful this shitstorm was not my big break and even more grateful it wasn’t a snuff film, although I had come close to DBG: Death by Groupie. Kelly Bundy, Poor Man’s Pussy Cat Doll, Monica, Jenny the Cam Girl, Ball Cap and Johnny disappeared into the black hole of obscurity, but I got a great story out of the whole deal I still tell to this very day. So in the end we all won, so that’s all folks